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ALBERT B. CASUGA, a Philippine-born writer, lives in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada, where he continues to write poetry, fiction, and criticism after his retirement from teaching and serving as an elected member of his region's school board. He was nominated to the Mississauga Arts Council Literary Awards in 2007. A graduate of the Royal and Pontifical University of St. Thomas (now University of Santo Tomas, Manila. Literature and English, magna cum laude), he taught English and Literature (Criticism, Theory, and Creative Writing) at the Philippines' De La Salle University and San Beda College. He has authored books of poetry, short stories, literary theory and criticism. He has won awards for his works in Canada, the U.S.A., and the Philippines. His latest work, A Theory of Echoes and Other Poems was published February 2009 by the University of Santo Tomas Publishing House. His fiction and poetry were published by online literary journals Asia Writes and Coastal Poems recently. He was a Fellow at the 1972 Silliman University Writers Workshop, Philippines. As a journalist, he worked with the United Press International and wrote an art column for the defunct Philippines Herald.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009


The Sixth Day

…and fill the earth and subdue it.

Scamper of rain softens the break
of thunder bringing quiver to the groin
that all along has known him from the quake
as fire in the bowels of the earth
as lime in the residue of water
churning days of wrath into a gravid day of birth:
and he was good:
Good for the rain, the touch of grass,
the lap of breaking water salving eyes come
from the night into the hurt of light,
for their good was indeed their knowing
what they know (a touch of grass, a deja vu)
a rousing into a gentle shock of knowing
what he knew:
and the Earth was good.

He knew the shape of clouds, the edict of weather
sharp on loins where loins sharpen some urgency
design pristine Undesign of mutual consummation
by consumption – often his way of knowing
what Art or undoing bids the flowers do when beasts
don’t eat them: they, consuming the earth,
the earth submitting, he conjuring the doubt
that turns trees from green to grey.
If man was created to have dominion over the Earth, then he can do whatever he wants to do with this planet. First inconvenient truth.
But he was precisely stripped of this privilege when he lost Paradise. He lost it by default, though, because he was pre-empted by his companion, Eve, who quickly bit of the fruit from the Tree of Knowledge. Hence, the Fall of Man. Second inconvenient truth.
But with the Crucifixion and subsequent Resurrection of the Son of Man, the Redeemer called Christ, brought back man's ascendancy in this Paradise regained. Third inconvenient truth.
The Earth was good. Man knew that. Good for what? For his discovery and use to complete this journey from Genesis to the end of his exploration -- which is "to go on exploring, until he comes back to his beginning, and know it only for the first time (paraphrasing T. S. Eliot in Little Gidding). In his beginning is his end; in his end, his Beginning. Fourth inconvenient truth.
As a homo viator, has he not indeed gone on with his journey? In this journey, has he not created his path to his destination? He has chipped on the stones to create his caves that became, at some time or the other, grand repositories of his ancient primordial art in the Caves of Lascaux. He has also carved the sides of mountains for his dams, and burnt the rainforests to make way for viaducts and the like to feed his energy-generating turbines, engines, machines, and even the wind mills that no modern Quixote could slay. Fifth inconvenient truth.
He has sown seeds so he could reap the grains for his table. He has planted, and discovered he could also make a lot of money from poppies to marijuana, from the joints to the cocaine, and ruin even the youngest and the brightest. Sixth inconvenient truth.
His hunt for the boar as feast for the banquet has turned him into a carnivore. His salmon hunt has escalated to whale hunts, to seal hunts, to harvesting of sealife through trawlers that leave the ocean bottoms lifeless and the reefs unrestored. He has pursued the fossil fuels from prairies to oceans. He has contaminated the waterways with dumped waste from giant sealiners. He has poisoned the sea's habitats with oil slicks. Seventh inconvenient truth.
He has cut a hole through the ozone layers, hence making deserts of greenlands. Oh, but of course, he has also resuscitated the sands of Las Vegas with airconditioned casinos and grand hotels. It sustained the flesh industry and the spurious hope of the roulettes in Nevada and wherever we find the modern Sodom and Gomorrah. Eighth inconvenient truth.
Global warming has put more water into the oceans. Floods, tsunamis, perfect sea storms have become common place. If the Philippine Archipelago has about 7,000 islands, how many still remain after the oceans keep on reclaiming the lands? The Artic tundra will soon be under the currents. Ninth inconvenient truth.
Man has reshaped world sharing of the bounty into geopolitical powersharing. Or no sharing at all. He has created boundaries of nationalism (jingoism), totalitarianism (socialism), terrorism (in name of Jihad or the Allah who is Good. He has waged wars from the time of David and Goliath, to Masada, to the Hundred Years War, to the wars to restore the majesty of the Church, to Dunkirk, Dachau, and Auchwitz, to Hiroshima, to Viet Nam, to Iraq, and who knows, China or Iran? Tenth inconvenient truth. Ad nauseam.
And man shall have dominion over the Earth. If he must "fill the earth and subdue it," polygamy must be in style. If he must subdue the forces and energies of the planet, he must likewise be able to replicate the hydrogen bombs that could obliterate the whole planet ten times over.
Inconvenient truths have been obscured somewhat in the name of God and country. Suicide bombings are preceded by outcries of "Allah is Good", and the Vatican appears helpless in reigning in molesters among its clerics, or even a Bishop who becomes President of his country only to be charged by hapless parishioners who were in their teens with siring recondite children while holy and stiff in his holy habit or habits. The Commandments have been breached so that not only strange Gods are before humanity, but also the false gods of money, power, and oil.
Is it time for Noah's Ark II? Will man also say: Apres moi, Le Deluge?
The Sixth Day was a good day, and after that the Creator rested. Our inconvenient truth now is that it is no longer His watch, but ours.
That's why I wrote this poem.

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